The concept of plumbing dates back to the Roman Empire, when lead-coated pipes could carry water to and from buildings and possibly bath houses, too. The Latin name for lead inspired today’s atomic symbol for lead, Pb, but today’s plumbing is more advanced than anything the Romans used. Many houses and businesses today in the United States are connected to public sewage utilities, but some houses are too remote to be connected like that. Instead, these remote buildings have a septic system built onto the property, and septic tanks are a major part of that. These systems may need regular septic cleaning, and looking up “septic pumping near me” may be a good idea to find local services. Septic tank repair may also be needed, or filter cleaning. A rural homeowner, if they take good care of their septic tanks and pipes, may expect great service from this hardware.
If a property cannot rely on sewage treatment plants to handle its dirty water, septic tanks and pipes will assume that duty instead. To begin with, all pipes in the property will flush dirty and used water down into an underground septic tank, and such septic tanks may be built to hold hundreds of gallons of material at a time. At any rate, that dirty water may sit in that tank for a few days, where bacteria cultures will break down solid waste and allow solids to settle at the bottom, forming a thick sludge. Fat and oils may float to the top, and relatively clean water sits in between.
Next, this water will pass through a filter grate to further clean it, and this water will now pass through a number of underground pipes just under the land’s surface. Nozzles and holes allow water to leak out and pass through loose gravel and soil, and those materials, plus helpful bacteria, will further filter and clean the water. This makes the water clean enough to re-enter the natural system, and the process is complete.
Repair and Maintenance Needs
A septic tank is largely automatic in function, but may need some care and maintenance every now and then to stay in good working order. For one thing, septic tanks need pumping, since the sludge that builds up inside has no means of leaving on its own. A septic system owner may use a measuring stick known as a “sludge judge” to determine how full of sludge the tank has become, and septic tanks one third to one half full are ready for pumping. These septic pump crews may be called on the phone, and a local company will send a truck whose crew will unearth the tank, open its port, and place a hose over it. Pump machinery on the truck will extract all sludge inside, and all this may be done once every few years or so.
If a septic tank has suffered damage or clogging, maintenance companies may be called for that, too. Very old septic tanks may start leaking or break down, and that cannot be allowed, so an owner may hire crews who will unearth the tank and remove it, then offer a selection of replacement septic tanks. These new tanks may have a large carrying capacity than the old one, and they certainly will not leak. Meanwhile, the filter may be clogged or damaged, impeding flow. But the owner should not simply remove that filter to restore flow, or too-dirty water may pass further into the system. That compromised grate should be cleaned off or repaired as needed, and then put back in.
The pipes deeper in the system may become caked in the inside with grime and debris, and this restricts or may block their water flow. The solution is to hire crews who may dig up those pipes and scour their insides with pressurized water to blast out all debris and grime to restore water flow.
Finally, the homeowner may practice basic maintenance and care, such as refraining from flushing down non-degradable items such as moisturized hand towels, baby diapers, or tobacco down the toilet. They should also disallow any vehicles from driving over the drainage field, since that compresses the earth too much and blocks water flow from the septic pipes.